Cardinals — on the basketball court?

Posted by Darren Urban on February 19, 2017 – 1:59 pm

Late in the season, the Cardinals’ offensive linemen installed one of those mini-basketball hoops above one of their lockers. Every once in a while, after practice, somebody (or somebodies) would take a few shots. There’s no question that over the years, plenty of players have come through that space thinking they were quite the basketball players.

Anquan Boldin could play. Kurt Warner could really play (and still does, hosting invite-only pickup games at his house in Scottsdale). Josh McCown could really play.

With the NBA all-star game today, it’s a good time to discuss who might make a solid unit for the hardwood. I’ve had the chance to talk to a handful of players about their basketball backgrounds. (I have not talked to everyone, and I am sure I will have inevitably missed some serious baller here. I ask, preemptively, for forgiveness.)

You’ve got to start with Darren Fells. The guy played pro basketball, after all. Larry Fitzgerald still likes to trash-talk Fells, and at one point there was a challenge of a one-on-one game, but I’m guessing Fitz wouldn’t like how that would turn out. Still, I’ve seen Fitz enough times in charity games that he probably could be in the starting lineup.

Our point guard would be Tyrann Mathieu, who might not quite be the same player as he was prior to a pair of ACL injuries, although I’m guessing he’d say different. (That video doesn’t exactly show the Badger against the best defense.) Calais Campbell, who at 6-foot-8 did some damage inside in high school, can be our center. And you don’t want to forget David Johnson (15.7 points, 7.9 rebounds a game as a senior in high school, and second-team all-state), who noted on Twitter he’s got a 41.5-inch vertical.

Off the bench? Kareem Martin, who played football at North Carolina, had a chance to walk on to the Tar Heels basketball team and maybe be the next Julius Peppers. Martin decided to concentrate on football, but you’ve got to have some game to be considered for UNC hoops. Some Earl Watford (Earl had some good stories about being the muscle on the court for his high school team), and a little A.Q. Shipley (A.Q., while shooting on that mini-hoop, assured me that back in the day, he was quite nimble on the court). Close it out with Tony Jefferson, who plays pretend basketball in the locker room with the trash cans more than any player ever and loves his Suns. (Yes, Jefferson was cut as a sophomore in high school, but noted that he had 16 points and five steals in his final lower-level high school appearance, so there’s that.)


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7 Responses to “Cardinals — on the basketball court?”

  1. By carlsonchemist on Feb 20, 2017 | Reply

    Hi Darrin! What I got out of this post is that the players forge friendships beyond that relating to professional football. I guess I always knew that was true, but your post offered tangible reasons to support my belief. Josh McCown played basketball? And the human bowling ball, AQ Shipley played as well? Really? Thanks for the inside information.

  2. By shannon robinson on Feb 20, 2017 | Reply

    The Cardinals have made an effort to mine the world’s B-ball courts to find giants who can learn to play football at an NFL level. Blocking has to be the hardest part of the transition to master. These guys are good ball handlers. Catching a pass has to do with being acclimated to the speed of the ball and getting hands up quickly – they don’t get to always see it for very long.The Routes they’re asked to run have to be different, but there’s precision of motion in B-ball also. Momah’s 6’7″ and so is Fells. I believe BA keeps both as part of this ongoing grand experiment. BA wants to throw that Redzone TD in the corner so high only our giant can catch it. Fells came from a private workout invitation at a USC pro day and Momah came from one of those NFL walk on tryouts! The organization has put a lot of work into developing these two guys.

  3. By Paul Russo on Feb 21, 2017 | Reply

    The problem is BA uses his TE mostly for blocking. They say Fells didn’t have a particularly good year. Well throw the damn ball to him. He had 14 catch’s all year. I have seen Palmer throw down filed all the time into double and triple coverage to a WR. Sometimes good most of the time bad results. Fells is WIDE OPEN in the middle of the field. Good god use your TE’s. When Fells does get the opportunity I have seen him in multiple games not only catch and carry the ball but also carry 4 or 5 players on his back for extra yards. The man is a monster he is Gronkowski like. He is also basically free on the pay scale comparing to others. Put me in coach!!!

  4. By Scott H on Feb 21, 2017 | Reply

    Darren –

    Fun post! I wonder how you might plug our guys into a softball team line-up.

    Or, for even more fun, a hockey team. Good luck with that! Do any of our guys have any real ice-skating skills that you are aware of?

  5. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Ice skating

  6. By D on Feb 21, 2017 | Reply

    I have crunched the numbers, Mr. Keim needs to resign DJ Swearinger, who will cost a fraction of Mr. Jefferson and isn’t that much below Jefferson in terms of play. He actually is better in coverage than Tony and can hit just as well, plus he appears to have grown up and puts in the extra time in studying the playbook.
    His lower salary may free up enough room to resign Mr. Campbell while Jones is on the Franchise Tag.
    Also, I would resign Sio Moore who would be more cost effective than Minter, while drafting a ILB in rounds 1-3.
    I still believe that Mr. Keim big splash will be a RG in free agency.
    This draft appears deep enough to fill holes at CB and WR.

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